Latest coronavirus updates in New York: Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Coronavirus
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo discusses the first case of coronavirus in New York on March 2, 2020 in New York City.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo discusses the first case of coronavirus in New York on March 2, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP via Getty Images)

NEW YORK — Find the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic in New York state and New York City, including data on positive cases and other indicators, and information from local officials.

11:30 a.m.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a coronavirus briefing. Watch the video below.

COVID-19 data updates

  • Total COVID-19 hospitalizations are at 4,641
  • Of the 207,496 tests reported Tuesday, 7,278 were positive
  • 3.51% one-day positivity rate on Tuesday
  • 71 new lab-confirmed COVID-19 fatalities

Vaccine updates

  • About 8 million doses administered statewide
  • About 15 million New Yorkers are eligible for the vaccine
  • About 5 million people have received at least one dose of vaccine
  • Close to 3 million people are fully vaccinated
  • “The main focus is vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate,” Cuomo said. “This is a logistical nightmare.”
  • “April, May, June, the focus will be vaccination, vaccination, vaccination,” the governor added.

Rebuilding New York post-COVID

  • “We have to rebuild New York comprehensively, holistically,” Cuomo said.
  • “Disasters happen … but you should learn from it when it happens,” Cuomo said.
  • “Let’s learn the lesson now post-COVID,” the governor said. “This is not one and done … it will happen again. Just look at the past 20 or so years.”
  • “Let’s make the changes to our public health emergency management system,” the governor said.
  • Cuomo pointed to how unprepared New York City and the state were when COVID-19 was first confirmed in New York last year, including a lack of testing, hospital capacity, PPE and unified approach to travel.
  • “We should be prepared and have the information and education so we can protect our own health, our own families,” Cuomo said.

Training the next public health leaders

  • The governor announced details of the new Citizen Public Health Training Program led by Cornell University.
  • Cornell University has created an eight session, 16-hour curriculum for citizens to enroll in.
  • The program includes eight hours of complete-at-your-own-pace courses and eight hours of interactive learning sessions with experts and professors. 
  • The course is free and available online, Cuomo said.
  • The curriculum covers COVID-19, infection prevention, health literacy, public health preparedness and more.
  • Course enrollees will be required to take assessments. Anyone who passes will receive a certification from Cornell and the state Department of Health that says they have been trained as a public health leader.
  • In another health emergency this would be a body of people who could volunteer to help in their community, Cuomo said.
  • “It will educate you, so you can protect yourself, your family, your community,” Cuomo said.

Pier 76 park renovations

  • Pier 76 is located on Manhattan’s West Side and is connected to Hudson River Park.
  • It’s the size of four football fields, Cuomo said
  • We’re now going to convert it to a public park space, the governor said.
  • The park is currently under construction.
  • Renovations are projected to be completed for this summer, Cuomo said.
  • We believe it can be open as early as June 1, the governor said.
  • This is an interim step for the pier.
  • The Hudson River Park Trust will come up with a long-term development plan for the pier.

State budget updates

  • The fiscal budget is due April 1.
  • In a COVID world, “nothing is ever easy,” Cuomo said.
  • The governor said he is obsessive with getting the budget done on time.
  • “I’m also obsessive about COVID and public health. So I have competing obsessions,” the governor said.
  • We do have COVID complications with the budget, Cuomo said. Speaker Carl Heastie announced on Tuesday he tested positive for COVID-19.
  • He is expected to be OK, but it triggered quarantine measures for many of his staff.
  • Negotiations with 10-15 people in a room are just not possible, Cuomo said, so there’s a chance we may not get it done by April 1.
  • Funding gap in budget: Cuomo asked the federal government for $15 billion in funding to recover from the pandemic. New York received about $12.5 billion, Cuomo said, so there is a funding gap of about $2.5 billion.

QnA

What do you say to critics who suggest you can’t handle the COVID crisis and the budget amid ongoing scandals and investigations?

  • Cuomo: I’d say it’s not true. The truth is, there are always multiple issues to deal with at one time. We just spent four years with Donald Trump as president. You want to talk about a distraction? That was a distraction.

What are your feelings about raising $7 billion in taxes? Will your scandals make it more difficult to negotiate with the legislature?

  • Cuomo: The budget always has two sets of concerns. The budget is really an action plan. So there’s always policy items and then financial issues. To me, the action part of this budget — the reconstruction, the green transformation, the new public facilities, cannabis, broadband access — that rebuilding agenda is very important to me. On the pure numbers, we have about a $2.5 billion gap. The legislature’s budget has about a $7 billion gap. So we have policy items and a numerical differential on the financial need. What we try to do is compromise the entirety. I try to convince them on all the items we just discussed.

What date will all New Yorkers be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine? Will you consider a change to the 11 p.m. restaurant/bar curfew this weekend for the Syracuse Sweet 16 NCAA tournament game?

  • Cuomo: We get an allocation from the federal government, we distribute them and then we open eligibility based on that allocation. We will be changing those numbers as we get more allocation. J&J was supposed to send more doses this week, but there was a production delay. But if they continue to increase, you’ll see us go down to 40, 30 and 16+ over the coming weeks. It’s gauged to how much allocation we get and then it’s just a numbers game. The other states are projecting forward on what they think they’ll be able to do. May, to me, is a long way away, and you can base that on what the federal government says will be available in May. I just want to make sure that the allocation projections that we’re getting from the feds are right, frankly. I don’t want to say we’re going to open up eligibility and then not have enough vaccines to do so.
  • Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker: Regarding Syracuse, we want the team to win but we also want people to be safe so we’re reviewing the team’s request.
  • Cuomo: We’re actively looking at it. If we can do it safely we will.

How are the women who came forward with harassment allegations against you who are still employed by your administration being protected?

  • Cuomo: I won’t comment on it because everything is under review.
  • Counsel Beth Garvey: Every person who comes forward is guaranteed protection against retaliation. We are taking measures to ensure that this occurs as well. 
  • Cuomo: There are rules about how these complaints are handled and we are following those.

10 a.m.

Mayor Bill de Blasio shared the latest on COVID-19 in NYC. Watch in video below or click here.

Vaccines in NYC

  • Total doses: 3,455,877
  • Pop-up Houses of Worship vaccination sites this week
    • Leviticus Church in Queens
    • Christian Cultural Center and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Brooklyn
    • First Corinthian Baptist Church in Manhattan

3-K for All expansion

  • 3-K for all in every school district
  • Free, full-day, high-quality childhood education for all
  • New districts include: 2, 3, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 28 and 30
  • Adding 16,500 more slots
  • Total to 40,000

Daily indicators

  • COVID Hospitalizations: 248 (54% positivity rate)
  • Hospitalization rate per 100,000, 7-day average (NYS): 3.79
  • New reported COVID-19 cases on 7-day average (including probable cases): 3,282
  • 7-day rolling average: 6.36%

Q&A

  • New poll – 50% of NYers undecided in mayor’s race. Does that surprise you?
    • Does not surprise me. We’re in the middle of a pandemic. Folks haven’t been able to focus yet. There is still three months to go. 
  • Triple shifts? 
    • We don’t want triple shifts. We’re going to find out why it happened in this situation. I don’t want to see this going forward. 
  • If the city can create 16,500 new seats, why can’t they expand special education
    • 3-K will be in all districts come September and more work is being done to reach kids across NYC
    • Priorities: This is one of the highest priorities within the city and childhood education
  •  Classrooms and instruction 
    • We talked about this with senior members of the DOE leadership. Concerns about kids in classrooms doing online work – but a child will be in school with the support of staff, counselors etc. 
    • If we have to make staffing adjustments, we will. 
    • Chancellor: Each school is working through their own programming issues 
  • Cuomo and COVID restrictions – should he resign?
    • Yes he should resign. Local power should be restored
  • Hunger strike among undocumented due to immigration suppport/funding
    • It’s sad that people trying to take care of their families are led to a situation where they feel it’s their only choice. 
  • J&J shot: Will a Black senior be more likely to get a door knock than a white senior?
    • It’s not just door knocking, we encourage the vaccine and door knock to encourage appointments. We’re focusing neighborhoods hardest hit, but this is for people of all backgrounds
    • Dr. Dave Chokshi: This is about outreach and making sure people who want to get vaccinated are.
  • Has the NYPD begun conducting investigations on hate crimes, etc?
    • Please report whatever you see. If you think you see a hate crime, report it. Report any incident you see. 
    • When the NYPD investigates, it may come out it was not a hate crime, but it is still something that needs to be looked into.
  • Why are the indicators different between the city and the state?
    • This goes back to the question of restoring local control. We in NYC have to have our own information and data and we need to protect our own people. The state of NY has their own methodology, but we don’t necessarily agree it’s the best method. 
    • Dr. Chokshi: Issues in the city’s health indicators have been resolved. 
  • Instruction in city schools – the city releases info that always changes, what’s the hold up on how many students are getting in-person instruction in schools.
    • Yes we should get more info, but we should also get more accurate info
  • Transportation: Encouraging people to take subways, buses, etc. and bikes.
    • I am looking forward to riding bikes on the Brooklyn Bridge – it’s something I look forward to. I plan to take the subway soon. More people are getting on the train, and it’s promising.

8:30 a.m.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday morning that the city’s 3-K program is being expanded to all New York districts.

The mayor, joined by new Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter, announced plans to add 16,500 students to the program for next school year in the fall. Watch their announcement below:

Happening today

A new opt-in period for New York City public school students to switch to in-person learning begins Monday. Read more details here.

Latest official numbers

As of Wednesday, there were 1,801,756 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March 2020 and 40,096 lab-confirmed fatalities, according to the state Department of Health.

COVID-19 timeline: How novel coronavirus spread

Tips to protect yourself and others amid coronavirus outbreaks

The New York state coronavirus hotline is 1-888-364-3065; information is also being posted here

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